Decision still not reached on masseur

The Human Rights Review Tribunal has failed to yet deliver a decision in a case heard more than a year ago involving a Nelson massage therapist accused of inappropriately touching a client.

A three-member tribunal panel heard the case in November last year but still has not given its decision or will say when it will.

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said the average amount of time it takes the tribunal to issue a decision following the hearing is 220 days - although some decisions might take just over a month to complete, while others could take over a year.

Each case had complexities and nuances that could influence how long it took to reach a decision, and there was no statutory time limit on when a decision must be reached, he said.

"It is the nature of tribunals to take a measured and considered approach in reaching a decision. This can take time.

"This particular case is taking longer than average to complete because it is a complicated one, and it covers a section of law not often examined."

The tribunal adjudicator had indicated issuing a decision in this case was a priority, he said.

The case relates to events dating back to 2009.

At the hearing, the Health and Disability Commission claimed the man breached the code of consumers' rights in five ways with a massage conducted at his home.

The man, who has interim name suppression, maintains he provided the woman client with one massage during which she was fully clothed and he followed traditional methods.

He denied her allegations that he had given her a second massage during which he stripped off her underwear, rubbed cooking oil on her body, touched her inappropriately and commented on her breasts.

The woman told the tribunal hearing that she felt "scared and trapped" during the incident. She said she later rang the therapist to tell him he had been unprofessional, but he did not apologise.

The therapist told the tribunal that he believed the allegations were ridiculous and motivated by an $80,000 compensation claim.

The Nelson Mail